Add Bluebonnets to your License Plate

Add Bluebonnets to your License Plate

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Love seeing the blooming bluebonnets on the side of the road. Capture that scene when you put a bluebonnet license plate from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on your vehicle! 

Get a Bluebonnet license plate for your vehicle, trailer or motorcycle for $30*, and $22 of every purchase goes directly to Texas State Parks to help fund educational, cultural and natural resource projects, as well as to preserve the unique natural beauty of the 89 state parks and natural areas across Texas.  The cost will be pro-rated for your next vehicle registration renewal. Order your plate HERE. Or, see www.ConservationPlate.org for more information.

The bluebonnet is the state flower and symbolizes the natural beauty of Texas. Bluebonnet license plate  helps fund several programs.

Bluebonnet license plates buyers have helped make State Parks more “green” than ever before by providing funds to purchase electric vehicles for use in parks. These battery powered vehicles allow staff to perform campground patrol and maintenance duties quietly and without producing emissions. That’s good for park visitors AND the environment.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff and volunteers are leading the effort to educate the public of the important contributions to Texas history made by military units staffed by African-Americans during the period of 1867-1948. The Buffalo Soldiers program brings history to life with stories, costumes and tools to thousands of park visitors and school children each year. Sales of the Bluebonnet license plates help support the Buffalo Soldier Program, and demonstrate the roots of the multi-cultural society that make Texas unique.

The use of fire is an important tool in maintaining the ecosystems in state parks. Safe and effective use of this tool requires the proper equipment for managing wild land fires and protecting employees working on fire lines. Bluebonnet license plate funds have been used to purchase a specialized fire engine to be used for wildfire suppression and implementation of prescribed fires on State Parks across the State.


Amplify Austin

Local generosity movement through Amplify Austin

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Amplify Austin Day is a city wide 24 hour online giving initiative. that ignites positive change in the community. This year the Central Texas community collectively raised $12.3 Million for more than 760 local nonprofit organizations!

 The donations meant healthy meals for families in need, new trees and trails in our public spaces, opportunities for local creatives, activities to empower our community’s youth, forever homes for animals, and so much more. 

“Today, I am especially proud to call Central Texas home. Once again, our community met the ambitious Amplify Austin Day challenge. I will never underestimate the power of collective giving around a common cause. Today’s success exemplifies that impact. I am also proud to report that the average gift size increased!” says Courtney Manuel, executive director of I Live Here I Give Here. “Thank you for making today a success and for supporting the critical missions of more than 760 charities. As a next step, I challenge each of you to get to know the nonprofits that you donated to this year and consider getting involved year-round. It’s this generous spirit that makes Central Texas one of the best places to live 365 days a year.”


The Rundberg Educational Advancement District (READ)Alliance

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Rundberg Educational Advancement District (READ) Alliance is a coalition of local individuals and organizations who work together to create a healthier and more vibrant Rundberg area for school children and their families.   READ Alliance supports the Rundberg neighborhood through local family events, student-led beautification projects, and sharing ongoing events in the Rundberg area. Some of the ongoing collaborative projects for the Alliance included:

BARRINGTON CISTERN

In collaboration with students from the R.E.A.D. Alliance, local artists painted the cistern at Barrington Elementary School in the rain garden. The images incorporated drawings from students who live in the Rundberg Education Achievement District.

SPRING FESTIVAL

Every year, R.E.A.D. Alliance hosts a Spring Festival to celebrate the many incredible cultures present in the neighborhood.

FALL FESTIVAL

Every October R.E.A.D. hosts a Fall Festival and Trick-Or-Treat Safe Zone on Rundberg Lane. Families and kids can enjoy activities and games while walking Rundberg Lane. Local business owners open their doors for trick-or-treating. Neighborhood Police greet families and ensure everyone has a fun and safe night on Rundberg Lane.

The Rundberg Educational Advancement District (READ) was created in 2014 at the initiative of Austin Police District Representative Ray Kianes as a way to sustain the tremendous reduction in criminal activity at I35 and Rundberg Lane as part of the Restore Rundberg neighborhood revitalization initiative, when he realized that, with the opening of IDEA Rundberg in 2015, the whole area located along Rundberg Lane between North Lamar Boulevard and Cameron Road, from Barrington and Guerrero-Thompson Elementary Schools to Dobie Middle School and Dobie Pre-K.

Interested in Getting Involved? Below is some contact information
Events: alison.ghilarducci@gmail.com
Beautification: lynn.osgood@gocoaustin.com
Communications: cecile_fandos@yahoo.frIf you’re not on the READ listserv but would like to be please email: learnaboutread@gmail.com

Interested in staying connected? Follow the at Facebook by clicking HERE.


Marina Bhargava, President and CEO of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce

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Marina Bhargava is the President and CEO of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC). She oversees its overall operation and execution of the Chamber’s goals and objectives.

Marina earned her B.A. and M.A. in economics from Northwestern University. Her career has been in a variety of industries, ranging from benefits consulting at Hewitt Associates to family owned plastics manufacturing. Prior to joining the Chamber, she was the Language Access and Outreach Coordinator for Asian Family Support Services of Austin, a domestic violence agency where she created trainings for and built relationships with the various Asian communities in Austin, and recruited and managed 20 contract interpreter advocates.

Marina currently serves on the board of Community Advancement Network and as an advisory board member of Indie Meme. She was a member of the Austin Area Research Organization’s McBee Fellows Class of 2015 and served on the Mayor’s Task Force for Institutional Racism, Economic Prosperity Commission, E3 Alliance’s Student Success Strike Force committee, and Austin Community College’s Equity Leadership Advisory Team.


Meet Ryan Melendez, Assistant-Vice President and Market Leader for Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T).

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Ryan Melendez is a Assistant-Vice President and Market Leader for Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T), a community banking group for Austin and the surrounding areas. In this capacity, Ryan has responsibilities including business development, small business lending, client management and community engagement. Ryan also serves as a community leader in Austin. During his ten-year banking career, including 8 with BB&T Bank, Ryan’s primary focuses are to build long-term relationships as a trusted advisor with his clients and the community; manage a portfolio of retail and small business clients; and have a strong understanding of his client’s banking; investment and insurance needs.

Ryan was born in Caracas, Venezuela, has been in Texas since 1995, and attended Columbia Southern University. Ryan is an engaged community volunteer who currently serves on the board of Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) and supports various other community organizations in the Austin area. In his free time, Ryan likes doing outdoor activities with his son Stuart and his daughter Rihanna, and their dog Scotts.


Meet Oscar Flores, with the passion to help his community and encourage business owners

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Oscar Flores moved to Austin from Seattle, WA. He is graduated as Telecommunication Technician in Venezuela. He studied Business Management and Entrepreneur at Edmonds Community College. Founder and former president of Venezuelan-American Washington association. He has many years of professional experience on Hispanic media such as EL Mundo newspaper, Azteca TV and ESPN Deportes Radio. Oscar started Cestari Insurance agency in 2005 and worked as Marketing Director. In 2013 became a Commercial Insurance agent. Passionate about sports, he has coached 6U baseball and support a gymnastic daughter.  He loves to cook and host parties. His passion is to help his community and encourage them to become business owners. He also has volunteered for Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as Member and Ambassador, Instructor  for Economic Growth Business Incubator, and Baseball Coach for Cedar Park Youth League.

Oscar Flores


Meet Marieli Cestari, with the vision to provide advice and lead the insurance market based on experience

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Marieli Cestari is original from Venezuela and has been living in the US since 2000.  She graduated as an Industrial Engineering in 1999.  In 2005, she decided to become a Farmers Insurance Agent and develop her career in the insurance and financial services industries.  In 2013, she accomplishes the Minority Business Executive program from Washington University, Foster School of Business and in 2014, she got certified as the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow designation “LUTCF” with the American College Institute.  Her passion is to advocate others, she participates as mentor and speaker for few local nonprofits to help another entrepreneur achieve their dream.

Her vision is to provide advice and lead the insurance market based on experience, trust, respect values and commitment to encouraging the peace of mind.  She loves dancing and listen to classic music.  She enjoys watching movies, doing sports and outdoors activities with her two beautiful children and husband as well as having friends over for entertainment.  She pursues her dreams and goals through hard work and attitude.

Marieli Cestari


North Austin Influencers January Mixer

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Thank-you to everyone that attended the North Austin Influencers January Mixer. This month’s highlighted Influencer is Dr. Teresa Granillo with Con Mi MADRE.

Dr. Granillo graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Psychology. Additionally,she earned her Masters of Social Work, Masters in Psychology and Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from The University of Michigan.

Before joining Con Mi MADRE she was a Tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Austin in the School of Social Work.

Con Mi MADRE is a non-profit in the Austin area whose mission is to empower young Latinas and their mothers through educational and support services. Dr. Granillo joined Con Mi MADRE because she was a Latina who grew up with a single mother who didn’t have an education. Her mother encouraged her to do well in school and pursue post-secondary education. While Granillo didn’t have a Con Mi MADRE, she had many mentors outside of her family that helped her throughout high school, college, and graduate school, and she says she owes her success to them. Thus, she believed whole-heartedly in Con Mi MADRE’s mission. She feels she is proof that with the right guidance, support, and mentorship, even Latinas from low-income families can achieve great things in education. For 10 years she has been doing research on finding ways to improve the lives of young Latinas, to provide them with opportunities to be healthy (physically and emotionally), happy, and successful. When presented with the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of Con Mi MADRE, it was like a dream come true! Now she gets to use her personal experiences and knowledge to empower young Latinas and their mothers to fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college education and having a successful career.

Special thank-you to Casa Chapala Mexican Grill & Cantina for hosting us at their beautifully renovated location and as always great service!

For more pictures from the event, visit our Facebook album HERE.

Teresa Granillo


Conversation Corps

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Conversation Corps is a way for all Austinites to get involved at convenient places near their home or work through monthly, one-hour conversations hosted on a different topic impacting the greater Austin community.  Input from these discussions go directly to decision-makers at the City of Austin, Capital Metro and Austin Independent School District.

Every month, groups meet all around town, discussing the same “issue of the month.” Conversations take place in a variety of venues – schools, houses of worship, community centers, coffee shops and restaurants – and will last about an hour. Trained facilitators lead the group through a structured dialogue, giving everyone a chance to share their thoughts and respond to what they’ve heard others say. Check in regularly to see what the topic of the month is on the Conversation Corps web site and find a meeting convenient for you!

Get involved today! Find a conversation. Host a conversation. Comment on a conversation.

Conversation Corps


Keep Austin Beautiful three month beautification project at Quail Creek Park

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Half dozen University of Texas Black business students, North Austin Civic Association members, and another half dozen Keep Austin Beautiful volunteers gathered at Quail Creek Park to kick off  the creek cleanup three months beautification project in February and the efforts continue in April.  Quail Creek Park is recognized by its large grove of hack-berry trees.  This park boasts a playground and picnic tables in 16 acres in north Austin.  Few Austin parks boast such wonderful shade.  Keep Austin Beautiful empowers citizens to take personal responsibility for enhancing the community’s environment by hosting these types of projects.

April 16th and 30th the efforts will continue, “we will engage the community around the park in litter abatement, creek restoration, native landscape installation, and park beautification,” and “future projects will include restoration work such as invasive removal, bank stabilization, and planting of natives plants, as well as mulching of park trees and possible public art installation”, announced Keep Austin Beautiful. View more details on how to get involved:  http://keepaustinbeautiful.org/calendar

Picture source: texashiking.com
Picture source: texashiking.com

 


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